Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2884 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
But, Mr Speaker, at no time is there any broadening on the possibilities that may be encountered post-abortion. Indeed, at the Family Planning Centre there is a whole range of different pamphlets, including the termination of pregnancy pamphlet. There is one on reproductive health care, having a baby, which seems reasonable, family planning, services for young people, and many more, but yet again, Mr Speaker, there is no specific knowledge that there is a possible downside and it should be taken very, very seriously.
On Monday morning I attended the Chief Minister's breakfast for the ACT AIDS Council with many others from this place. Mr Stanhope and Mr Wood from the Labor Party were there. Ms Tucker from the Greens was there. The Chief Minister, Mr Moore and I were there as well, and Mr Moore presented some awards and spoke briefly on issues such as harm minimisation. Mr Speaker, we do a lot in terms of harm minimisation for those in the drug community and those who are exposed to possible HIV and hep C. Mr Moore spoke about education programs on HIV and hep C. I wrote this down because it struck me as a very important point. He said, "If we can save a single life then it will have been effective". Mr Speaker, if this Bill can save a single life then it also will have been effective. If it can relieve a lot of women from the trauma that they may be exposed to after a pregnancy then it will have been even more effective. Mr Speaker, I wrote down that quote because it is very relevant in the context of this debate.
I have another fear about the use of abortion technology. It would seem there is growing discrimination for that technology to be used against women. In some religious sects and in some societies it is preferable to have a male offspring instead of a female and we are now using this technology to destroy more female embryos and foetuses than male.
Mr Speaker, in his initial remarks this morning Mr Moore spoke of the fact that this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of human rights. That is so. This year is also the twenty-fifth anniversary of the famous Roe v. Wade case in the Supreme Court in the United States. This was the court case that legalised abortion on demand in America. It is curious that the woman who challenged for the right to have an abortion in America, commonly called Jane Roe, and who consequently ended up working in an abortion clinic is now an anti-abortion advocate and now believes abortion to be wrong.
Mr Speaker, it is never too late to add balance to the information that we supply to those who seek an abortion. Jane Roe was an alias for Norma McCorvey. Ms McCorvey went on to work in an abortion clinic. In 1991 she said she was sitting in the clinic one night when she suddenly realised that she was looking at the charts that showed the development of the foetus. She said that for the first time she realised she was not talking about a bunch of cells; she was actually talking about a human being. It is curious that the lady who was used as the spearhead and is often held up as an ideal for the pro-abortion community has now said that she believes it to be wrong.
I wish to make two final comments. Since this debate has started I, like all of us in this place, have received many letters and calls and had meetings with different groups of people. One group that particularly impressed me is a group called Women Hurt by Abortion. They left me with some material and there is some information relevant to Australia. A Dr MacIsaac from Melbourne said the review of the medical literature identifies approximately 10 per cent of women, perfectly healthy prior to abortion, as having long-term serious physical and psychological problems following abortion.